The axis deer, also known as the chital or spotted deer, is found on the Indian subcontinent (consisting of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives). They have been transplanted to other areas of the world, including Texas (which has over 150,000 of them) and Hawaii. They are particularly numerous on the island of Molokai (with an estimated 30,000 to 50,000) and Lanai (with an estimated 10,000 to 15,000). Because they are an invasive species and have no predators, they cause damage to agriculture and forests. On Molokai, axis deer can be taken on public lands without regard to season or bag limit.
Anshu Pathak of Exotic Meat Market traveled to Molokai where he worked with some hunters to harvest some of the invasive axis deer and then arranged to have the deer dressed and packaged for transport back to the mainland. I picked up some axis rib chops from him.
|One of the axis deer shot on Molokai - from the Exotic Meat Market Facebook page.|
|Anshu Pathak with a truck bed full of axis deer carcasses. From the Exotic Meat Market Facebook page.|
There are some who claim axis deer meat is the best wild game meat, to which Anshu concurs. I've had it on at least one previous occasion, at Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse in Dallas where I had bacon wrapped axis deer venison with jalapeno and smoked mozzarella, brushed with a molasses Dijon dressing.
I decided to cook my axid deer rib chops like I've cooked bison filet, a process that is easy and delicious with the right kind of meat. First I cooked it sous vide for 2 1/2 hours in a water bath set at 55 degree C, with added salt, pepper and butter, then flash fried it in a pan with melted butter on both sides.
It was tender, had a wonderful taste, and rivaled buffalo filet as some of the best wild game I've had. I could eat this stuff again, and again and again.
|Chops after sous vide for 2 1/2 hours.|
|Frying in butter to make a nice outside texture.|
|Beautiful pink inside.|